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Staying Strong

By Marc DeWall

The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch Respond to COVID-19 Guidelines.

As things have continued to change rapidly with COVID-19, we as a Club have continued to evolve while looking for new ways to serve our members. We also have seen an incredible amount of people that are wanting to just get outside and be active while maintaining strict social distancing guidelines.

Please note that the operating procedures mentioned in this article were those in place at the time we went to press with the magazine — at the pace things have changed there likely may be several modifications to these operating procedures, particularly considering Governor Abbott has planned a new Executive Order on April 27th which would outline additional modifications (hopefully for opening up more businesses).

The golf course has been very busy and has adopted many new restrictions under guidelines and directives from Governor Abbott. Golfers at Cordillera Ranch and around the state were allowed to continue playing golf by walking or using a private cart, but Club-owned carts were removed from service and Golf Pro Shop operations and the driving range were halted. This is consistent with what we have seen taking place at golf courses across the country. Many golfers have enjoyed walking and the exercise benefits it provides all while playing a game they enjoy.

Similar restrictions were applied to the Tennis Club, yet families are still enjoying the courts for exercise and recreation.

The Culinary Team has continued meal service for curbside pickup and delivery, and we recently opened our C-Star Market for members who wish to purchase household grocery and staple items. This great service has been incredibly well-received because our members can either pick-up the items curbside or we will deliver if they live in the Cordillera Ranch community.

Here are just a few details of the things we are doing to adapt and serve our members:

The Golf Club

Corey Roberson, Director of Golf

Our team took many steps to adhere to COVID-19 prevention measures including removing Club carts and eliminating guest play. Since we went to walking and private carts only, we temporarily lifted the ban on pull/push carts to allow more of our members to play golf.  

Initially, we thought our golf traffic would drop significantly when we went to walking and private carts only, but the metrics have been a bit interesting. We do see less players on a daily basis, but rounds haven’t dropped as much as we thought. We are still playing about 100 rounds on a busy day and 60% of those are walking. Many of our members are adapting to these restrictions by switching to lighter bags, carrying fewer clubs and playing less than 18 holes.  

Below are a few additional steps we took and how they impacted play:

Bunkers – With the removal of bunker rakes, players were encouraged to smooth disturbed areas with their foot while exiting bunkers. Excessively disturbed areas were to be played as Ground Under Repair (GUR). Members were entitled to take free relief within the bunker.

Cups – All cups were flipped upside down so the ball would be easy to remove without touching the flag stick. We acknowledged some balls may not stop in the hole as they would when the cup is installed normally. Under these unique playing conditions, the USGA recommended players use the ‘most likely’ scoring method. A ‘most likely’ score relies on the player’s best judgement to determine if the ball would have stayed in the hole under normal conditions. Essentially, ‘be fair’ to yourself and the people you are playing with.

Scorecards – Normally our golf professional staff enters scores for our membership. During this temporary time, it was best for each player to enter their scores through the GHIN mobile app. This eliminated the touch point of passing scorecards.

The Agronomy Department

Jeff Eldridge, Director of Agronomy

The Agronomy department implemented several measures for the health and safety of members and staff. For members, this included enhanced sterilization practices of the golf course restroom cleaning, cups turned upside down on the greens, daily sanitizing of the flag poles and removal of all bunker rakes. For the crew, increased sterilization practices began on March 13 and the crew shifts were split beginning on March 18. Half of the staff worked Wednesday through Saturday while the other half worked Sunday through Wednesday. Each crew worked a half-day on Wednesdays, and buildings, all touch points and all equipment were sanitized between shifts to help minimize any chance of cross contamination.

The Tennis Club

Joe De Luna, Director of Tennis

It has been great to see all of the members and their families utilizing the Tennis and Pickleball courts while everyone is homebound and trying to stay healthy. During these uncertain times, it has been important to exercise outdoors while practicing social distancing. Tennis and Pickleball is always an excellent way to do this while spending time with your family at the beautiful Cordillera Ranch Tennis Club.  

Several steps were taken to ensure families could still utilize the courts safely prior to and during the closure:

• Members were encouraged to wash their hands upon arrival and departure of the tennis courts.

• Gate latches were removed to reduce touch points. 

• Prior to the postponement of lessons, all balls were replaced with new ones and members were asked to avoid touching them during practice.

• Ball hoppers and baskets were removed.

• Increased sanitation of all door handles, restrooms and patio furniture.

The Fitness Center

Jane Riley, Director of Wellness and Fitness

During the closure of the Fitness Center, the Club’s certified fitness instructors were eager to keep members engaged and involved in a regular exercise routine with a number of online classes. Ranging from Sets & Reps, Stretch & Flex, Yoga and Mat Pilates to Barre HIIT, Complete Core and Senior Fit, the 45-minute to one-hour classes were geared towards all ages and fitness levels to provide a well-rounded workout routine. Nutrition seminars and personal training sessions were led by the Club’s certified personal trainers and Sunday online socials provided interaction and guidance for members during social distancing.

The Clubhouse

Graham House, Clubhouse & Lodging Manager

The Culinary and Service Teams remained open for food and beverage delivery and curbside service, and implemented several enhancements to current practices during the COVID-19 outbreak to increase the safety of our membership and staff.

These included:

• Additional sanitizing stations were added to employee entrances and required a three-step process of sanitizing, then washing hands and then using gloves for food services.

• Gloves were changed after every contact with a member transaction or entry to a facility.

• Eliminated presenting and receiving receipts for members.

• Sanitizing spray practices were increased to every hour on all door handles and points of entry by the housekeeping team.

• All working areas were sanitized.

• Sanitizer was added to all restrooms.

• All inside dining facilities and bars were stripped down and equipment was removed, disinfected and replaced. Carpets were cleaned.

• Culinary operations were limited to essential kitchen and service staff only, to reduce cross contamination.

• Employee meals were delivered to curbside for employee pickup, and employees ate in their work place.

• Vendors were no longer allowed access inside the Clubhouse for deliveries. All deliveries were brought in by our staff.

• Employee and member travel policies were enacted based on state recommendations.

• Employee wellness policies were updated to CDC guidelines.

• Reviewed daily communications platform for safety practices to the team.

The Culinary Team continued to prepare menu items for curbside pickup and delivery, and introduced a variety of daily family meal specials.

Additionally, the C-Star Market was introduced to provide a safe and convenient option for members to obtain groceries and much-needed household goods. Dairy products, fresh produce, pantry dry goods, paper goods, quality meat selections from the Butcher Shop and baked items from the Bake Shop were available for order, as well as a variety of beverages. The Club provided the ease of curbside pickup or delivery.

At this time, it is uncertain what other directives may come our way, but the safety of our members and staff as well as their continued enjoyment of the beautiful Cordillera Ranch community will always be our top priorities.

Marc DeWall is the General Manager of The Clubs of Cordillera Ranch. He can be reached at mdwall@cordilleraranch.com or 830.336.9151.